A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Mar del Plata vs. Cartagena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Mar del Plata or Cartagena?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Mar del Plata and Cartagena can help you decide which place is right for you.

Mar del Plata

Mar del Plata is found only 404 km southeast of the city of Buenos Aires, on the Atlantic coast. Today Mar Del Plata is Argentina‘s most well known beach resort. It has successfully married the two worlds of beach and city into a fun, cosmopolitan urban center with the presence of highly developed tourist infrastructure. Founded in 1874, Mar del Plata was at first mainly an industrial and commercial center before becoming a vacation destination for Argentinians. For a peaceful trip and intimate oceanfront promenades, avoid visiting Mar del Plata during summer time, as the gorgeous arced coastline will be crawling with visitors. But the city is more than just beaches. It also offers some culture, lively nightlife, and great food.

Cartagena

The capital of the Bolivar Department of Colombia, Cartagena is one of the most visited cities in the country. It sits on Colombia's northern coast by the Caribbean Sea. It's a port city with a population of almost 900,000, making it the fifth largest city in Colombia. The city has a rich history and was the first Spanish colony on the American continent. It was also one of the first sanctuaries for freed African slaves in the Americas.

Which city is cheaper, Cartagena or Mar del Plata?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Mar del Plata is $63, while the average daily cost in Cartagena is $39. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Mar del Plata and Cartagena in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $46 in Mar del Plata For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.

Cartagena's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $44. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $22.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Mar del Plata $23
    Cartagena $22
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Mar del Plata $46
    Cartagena $44

Food

In Mar del Plata travelers spend around $27 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.

In Cartagena travelers spend around $7.98 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Mar del Plata $27
    Cartagena $7.98

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cartagena

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Cartagena.

  • Cartagena Cuisine Cooking Experience: $30
  • BIKE & BITE food tour: $52
  • Street food tour with Julie: $64
  • Food Tour in Cartagena Walled City: $66
  • Street Food & Local Food Tour: $66
  • SkyKitchen 4 Course Cooking Class: $81
  • Bazurto Market Tour and Cooking Class in Cartagena: $92
  • Cartagena - Food Tour: $100
  • Caribbean Cuisine Cooking Class: $105
  • Shared Local Cooking Class and Lunch in Cartagena: $110
  • Bazurto Local Market Tour & Cooking Class: $115
  • Colombian Cooking Workshop: $201

Local Transportation

To get around in Mar del Plata, the average visitor spends $18 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.

The average price of local transportation around Cartagena is $6.09 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Mar del Plata $18
    Cartagena $6.09

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cartagena

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cartagena:

  • One way private water transfer between Cartagena and the Islands (6 ppl max): $530
  • Private Transfer from La Manga Club to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $259
  • Private Transfer from Cartagena to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $249
  • Private Transfer Cartagena to Palomino (or vice versa): $195
  • Private transfer to Barranquilla from Cartagena- Traslado privado a Barranquilla: $170
  • Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by Minivan: $96
  • Transfer to Tayrona Park, Santa Marta or Barranquilla City from Cartagena: $84
  • Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by 2x4 Car: $72
  • Private transfer Cartagena airport -Mamonal: $65
  • Transfer Cartagena: $50
  • Transfer service in Cartagena: $50
  • Private Transfer: Cartagena to Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG): $40

Is it cheaper to fly into Mar del Plata or Cartagena?

Prices for flights to both Cartagena and Mar del Plata change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Entertainment

In Mar del Plata, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $16 per person, per day.

Cartagena's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $17 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Mar del Plata $16
    Cartagena $17

Tours and Activities in Cartagena

Here are a few actual costs in Cartagena for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Hour Panoramic tour for cruise ship passengers: $40
  • 4-Hour Fishing Experience with Locals Near Cartagena: $103
  • 6 Hr Cartagena Fishing Experience: $974
  • Accessible sightseeing tour of Cartagena: $140
  • Audio Guide - Walking Tour with Interactive (Cartagena de Indias): $10
  • Aviario National Park Shared Tour: $63
  • Bar Tour for Guys and Bachelor Parties: $20
  • Bazurto Market + La Popa Convent Cartagena City Tour 4H: $81
  • Bazurto Market Half day tour in Cartagena: $125
  • Biking Tour Cartagena: $19
  • Birdwatching & Photography experience at the National Aviary in Barú: $279
  • Bolivar Pirate Island Experience with Lunch: $75

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Mar del Plata, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $13.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Cartagena may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $7.48 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Mar del Plata $13
    Cartagena $7.48


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Mar del Plata and Cartagena, we can see that Mar del Plata is more expensive. And not only is Cartagena much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cartagena would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cartagena and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Mar del Plata would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Mar del Plata than you might in Cartagena.

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Mar del Plata vs. Cartagena Travel Comparison

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